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It was the beginning of September. The fields and trees held a glorious green and a gentle breeze blew a ripple in the grass, cooling all of those who meandered in the warm sun.

Mary Helena Maynard was one of those enjoying the day's sun. It was the day before term started, only, this time, she would be on the other side of the desk; a teacher for the enquiring minds of young girls. Yesterday she had arrived here, to Askell School in a vague region of England, and having settled in to her room and talked with colleagues she had fancied a ramble around the local area.

University had been an interesting experience, she pondered, as she wandered through the cool field. Some things had been a bit of a shock, especially at first when she was new to it all, but she had adapted, made changes, and made plenty of friends too. She'd changed somewhat since then, which accounted for the extra 'a' she'd put on her nickname to become Lena.

Lena gave a thought to the Platz and her Reg. She wondered what he'd be doing right now. Probably some important doctoring work. She hoped he'd be able to get some time off at some point, enough for him to come up for a visit. Maybe they would live together in the area someday, but Reg would need a job and a decent place to live first.

Maybe it would have been easier if she had decided to go back to teach at the Chalet School. She knew she'd be welcomed with open arms, and she had a good handle on the customs of the school, not to mention that she'd be familiar with most, if not all, of the teachers. But, she reminded herself firmly, she had decided she wasn't going to go back there yet. She needed to do it on her own, to prove to herself that she was a worthwhile teacher. Never mind the fact that plenty of the pupils, especially the older ones, knew her as a Prefect and before, and besides, it would be off-putting to her sisters, especially Felicity.

Felicity was now a Lower IVth girl, and Lena remembered how excited Felicity was about the new term, and seeing Jean Morrison again, and chatting with both Jean and Lucy Peters for most of the time. And Jack Lambert would be there, as a Prefect. Jack herself had been writing to Lena, and she had many concerns over the coming year as a Prefect. Lena had reassured her, telling her that particularly over the past few years she had grown up as a person, and was now ready to deal with such a challenge.

She'd been receiving a lot of correspondence from Con, Margot and Steve too. Con had taken up some journalism work for a small newspaper, and seemed to be enjoying it. Quietly, she was also working on a first novel, but she had told no-one but her triplet sisters this. It was exciting to read as Con made progress on it, working at the difficult bits, working with her characters. Margot was still at university, working hard at her Medicine course. And Steve was starting his course soon too, and was hoping university was all it's cracked up to be.

Lena made her way through a fence, ending up in a small street full of local shops. Smiling and being polite, she thought about her present situation instead. Askell School was a large girls' boarding school, with over 500 pupils to its name. It taught girls from 11-18 years old, with three classes per year from I to V years, and a bundle of classes for the two VIs depending on what they studied. There were five boarding houses with a mix of students and a few teachers in each. Lena herself was in Noether House, and having heard of the House Competition she wondered how exactly it worked, and even hoped a little that Noether House would do well.

All the same, she was nervous. Tomorrow, the hoards of girls would come, and she'd be introduced to them all. And the next day, she'd meet her own form, IIIb, who would be thirteen going on fourteen, one of the most difficult ages there was. She hoped they wouldn't be too much of a hard time.


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